Tumbledown Mountain found in Weld, ME, located just outside of Mt. Blue State Park, approximately 2 hours North of Portland, has become on of the state’s most popular hikes. While not one of the tallest mountains in the region, this little mountain, with an elevation of 3068′, packs a punch, but rewards you with one of the prettiest views and a great alpine pond to cool down in as a reward.
Open 24 hrs as you can camp out here overnight, outhouse located at the Brook Trail trail head, carry in carry out, dog friendly, hiking, camping, conservation, wildlife, bird watching, fishing, alpine pond, swimming.
For more information: http://www.tumbledown.org/
To Get There: (directions from Summitpost.org) From Portland, Maine, take I-95 north to Route 4 in Auburn. Follow route 4 through Auburn, Turner, Livermore Falls, and Jay. Turn left on 156 and follow into Weld Village. At the four way stop in Weld, go straight. Turn left at Webb Corner (large sign). Within about 1/2 mile, a logging road (Byron Road) leaves straight ahead in a 90 degree turn. The Brook Trail leaves Byron Road approximately 4.4 miles from Webb Corner. The Loop Trail also begins on Byron Road approximately 5.8 miles from Webb Corner. Both the Loop and Brook Trail heads are fairly well marked but I suggest setting your trip odometer when you make the turn at Webb Corner so you know you are in the general area.
* We mis-read our directions and found our Maine Gazetteer essential to finding our way back.
On our hike, we chose the Brook Trail as my husband had hiked this mountain before and remembered on the Loop Trail and Ridge Trail that there were places with ladder rungs to help hikers, as well as a hole on the Loop Trail that you would need to take your pack off to get through called the “fat man’s misery”. Since those trails would not be appropriate for our dog, we decided on the “easier” trail. The Brook Trail is approximately 1.5 – 2.5 miles (depending on which site you are looking at) with a 1, 600 ft height gain. Don’t be fooled though. The beginning of the trail is loose rock of various sizes on a wide path with many water barriers across the trail directing the water to the sides. Approximately 3/4 – 1 mile in, the path suddenly goes almost completely vertical. You will need to climb over many boulders and cross the stream 3 times. There is a rock step stair that parallels the waterfall near the top. The alpine pond is beautiful and the view can’t be beat.
Notes: We went up on a Saturday in July 2008. We found the trail head to be packed and had to park along the side of the road with many others. There was a constant wave of hikers, fishers, campers and dogs going up and down the mountain. The beginning of the trail was easy packed rock, which changed as the elevation changed to loose rocks of various sizes and there was almost a shallow river running through the trail. There were work crews there working on the water diverts in the trail. As the trail elevation climbed more vertically, we found that even the dogs had some trouble climbing and eventually allowed them off-leash as many others were doing. This is not a beginner’s climb. I became overheated and eventually sick and had to rest often. It took us almost 3 hrs to reach the top, although we were passed by more fit hikers. The alpine pond at the top was a pleasant cool down on a hot and humid day for me as well as the dogs and was a very popular spot for many to have lunch. The climb back down was confusing at times as we lost the blazes 4 times. It was easy to back track though and get on the right path. The climb down was almost scary for me as I am a little afraid of heights and looking down at what I had climbed up was a bit daunting. I began to understand how the mountain got it’s name.
Have you been here? If so, what were your thoughts about this hike? Or did you take a different trail? If so, I would love to hear about it. Please post a comment and let me know about your experience.